10 Ways To Improve Your Motorcycle’s Audio Sound Quality (In-Depth Guide)
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Revving up your motorcycle on a beautiful day and hitting the open road is one of the most exhilarating experiences a rider can have. But when you’re cruising down the highway, do you ever feel like something’s missing?
Perhaps it’s the perfect soundtrack to complement your ride. Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your motorcycle’s audio system quality and make your riding experience even better. From upgrading your speakers and adding an amplifier to optimizing your music files and using sound-dampening material, here are the top ten ways to take your motorcycle’s audio system to the next level.
Upgrade Your Speakers
Upgrading your motorcycle’s speakers is a key way to improve audio quality. Many stock speakers that come with motorcycles are of lower quality and are not designed to handle the wide range of frequencies that music produces. Additionally, motorcycle speakers face challenges like wind and road noise, which can interfere with sound quality.
To upgrade your speakers, you will want to invest in high-quality speakers that are designed to be used in a motorcycle environment. Look for speakers that have a wide frequency range and are constructed with high-quality materials. Speakers that are specifically designed for motorcycle use will also typically have a rugged construction to withstand vibrations and other challenges unique to riding.
Our Favorite Marine Speaker Set for Harleys
Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X
The Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X is a 6.5-inch coaxial speaker system that offers premium sound quality in a compact design. Its construction features a rigid cast aluminum frame and a glass fiber woofer cone that ensures rigidity and reduced distortion, while its oversized woofer cone produces deeper bass tones.
The system includes a soft dome tweeter that provides accurate and detailed high-frequency response and is adjustable/removable for optimizing sound quality. Additionally, its high-quality crossover network has adjustable settings for fine-tuning sound according to individual preferences.
With a peak power handling of 80 watts RMS and a sensitivity rating of 95dB, the Infinity Kappa Perfect 600X can produce a high volume of sound with minimal power input. Its compact design and a mounting depth of only 2-3/16 inches make it easy to install on a range of motorcycle audio systems, and its sleek and modern chrome-plated finish adds to its aesthetics.
How To Pick The Right Speakers
Motorcycle audio is different from standard car audio in a lot of ways. Mostly due to listening conditions and the type of environment the speakers are used in. Before amplifying your system we recommend you install the right type of speakers for the job. Here’s how you find them:
- Determine the speaker size that can fit in your motorcycle’s audio system.
- Decide on the type of speakers you want, such as coaxial, component, or subwoofers, based on your preferred sound quality.
- Look for speakers with high power handling and sensitivity ratings to produce a loud and clear sound.
- Check the frequency response range to ensure that the speakers can reproduce a wide range of frequencies.
- Consider the durability and weather resistance of the speakers since motorcycles are exposed to harsh environments.
- Check the compatibility of the speakers with your motorcycle’s audio system and wiring.
- Read reviews and recommendations from other motorcycle enthusiasts to help you make an informed decision.
When shopping for new speakers, pay attention to the size and mounting requirements to ensure they will fit your motorcycle. You may also need to purchase additional mounting hardware or adapter plates to install the new speakers.
Overall, upgrading your speakers can make a significant improvement to your motorcycle’s audio system quality. By investing in high-quality speakers that are designed for motorcycle use, you can enjoy a richer, clearer sound while you ride.
Add an amplifier
Amplifiers are designed to increase the power of your audio system, resulting in a louder, clearer sound that can cut through wind and road noise. An amplifier can also help to reduce distortion and other sound artifacts that can negatively impact sound quality.
When choosing an amplifier for your motorcycle, it’s important to consider the power requirements of your speakers and the size of your bike’s electrical system. Some amplifiers require a significant amount of power and may not be suitable for smaller bikes with limited electrical capacity.
Focal FDP Sport
- 175 Watts RMS x 4 @ 4 ohms
- 240 Watts RMS x 4 @ 2 ohms
- 2 Channel Bridge mode 500 watts RMS
- Signal to Noise Ratio 95 dB
- Gain 200mv – 19v
- Frequency Response 20Hz – 30KHz
“Rated to deliver 175 watts per channel at 4-ohm loads, the FDP Sport amp allows bridging the two pairs of channels to power a pair of speakers or subwoofers with up to 500 watts delivered to each.”
“The amplifier features speaker-level inputs that allow up to 18 volts of signal without having to use an external converter.”
“The amp offers gain control for each pair of channels. The front channels have adjustable high-pass crossover which you can set to a frequency in the range of 10-150 Hz.”
“The rear channels can also be configured in low or high pass modes between the frequencies of 45 to 150 Hz. All the channels can be set to the full range as well.” More Information about this amp can be found in our official Focal FDP Review.
Picking The Right Amp
- Size and power output: Consider the size and power output of the amplifier to ensure it fits within the limited space on a motorcycle and can deliver enough power to drive the speakers.
- The number of channels: Determine how many channels you need based on the number of speakers you plan to install. A two-channel amplifier is typically sufficient for most motorcycle audio systems.
- Amplifier class: Choose the amplifier class that best suits your needs, such as Class D for high efficiency and minimal heat generation or Class AB for a balance of efficiency and sound quality.
- Signal-to-noise ratio: Look for an amplifier with a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) to minimize distortion and background noise.
- Input options: Consider the input options available on the amplifier, such as RCA or speaker-level inputs, to ensure compatibility with your audio source.
- Built-in features: Look for amplifiers with built-in features such as crossovers, equalizers, and bass boost that can help optimize the sound quality.
- Brand reputation and reviews: Consider the reputation of the amplifier brand and read reviews from other motorcycle enthusiasts to get an idea of its performance and reliability.
By considering these factors, you can select the right amplifier that fits your motorcycle audio system’s requirements and provides the best possible sound quality.
To install an amplifier, you’ll need to make sure you have enough space to mount it and that your bike’s electrical system can handle the extra load. You’ll also need to run additional wiring to connect the amplifier to your audio source and speakers.
Overall, adding an amplifier can be a great way to improve your motorcycle’s audio system quality. By boosting the power of your audio system, you can enjoy a clearer, more dynamic sound while you ride. However, it’s important to choose an amplifier that is suitable for your bike’s electrical system and to take care when installing it to ensure it is secure and properly connected.
Use sound-dampening material
Sound dampening material can help reduce road noise and other environmental sounds that can interfere with your motorcycle’s audio system. This is particularly important when riding at high speeds, as wind noise can be a significant challenge to overcome.
To use sound dampening material in your motorcycle fairing or helmet, you’ll need to choose a material that is specifically designed for this purpose. Common materials include foam or rubber insulation that can be applied to the inside of your fairing or helmet.
When applying sound dampening material, it’s important to be careful not to interfere with any important components of your motorcycle, such as wiring or cooling systems. You’ll also want to ensure that the material is properly secured and won’t come loose while you’re riding.
Using sound dampening material can significantly improve your motorcycle’s audio system quality by reducing the amount of interference from external sounds. This can help you to better hear your music or other audio sources, making your ride more enjoyable and relaxing.
Where Do I Install Sound Dampening Material on A Motorcycle?
You can install sound dampening material in several areas of your motorcycle, depending on the type of material and the level of sound reduction you’re looking to achieve. Here are some common areas where you can install sound dampening material on your motorcycle:
- Fairing: You can install sound dampening material inside your motorcycle’s fairing to reduce wind and road noise. This is particularly effective at high speeds, where wind noise can be a significant issue. Apply the material to the inside of the fairing using an adhesive, being careful not to cover any important components or block any air vents.
- Helmet: You can also install sound dampening material inside your helmet to reduce wind noise and other external sounds. This can help you to better hear your audio sources, making for a more enjoyable and relaxing ride. Apply the material to the inside of the helmet using an adhesive or Velcro, being careful not to interfere with the helmet’s ventilation system.
- Saddlebags: If you have saddlebags on your motorcycle, you can also install sound dampening material inside them to reduce road noise. This can help to protect your audio equipment and improve sound quality. Apply the material to the inside of the saddlebags using an adhesive, being careful not to interfere with any locking mechanisms or other important features.
Overall, installing sound dampening material can be a great way to improve your motorcycle’s audio system quality. By reducing external sounds, you can enjoy a clearer, more immersive audio experience while you ride.
Use a high-quality source (A high-end Radio)
Your audio source, whether it’s a phone, MP3 player, or another device, plays a critical role in determining the overall sound quality of your audio system.
When choosing an audio source, make sure it has a high-quality output to ensure the best possible sound. This means looking for devices that have a high-quality digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and a high-quality audio output.
Many newer phones and devices have high-quality audio outputs, but older devices or budget devices may not have the same level of audio quality. In these cases, you may want to consider investing in a separate digital audio player or a dedicated high-quality DAC to get the best possible sound quality.
It’s also important to make sure that your audio source is properly set up and configured for use with your motorcycle’s audio system. This may involve adjusting the output level, selecting the appropriate output format, or adjusting the audio settings on your device to optimize the sound for your motorcycle’s environment.
By using a high-quality source, you can ensure that your motorcycle’s audio system is up to date and has all the bells and whistles needed to accomadate any audio system upgrades you may need to add on.
Aquatic AV AQ-MP-5BT-H
The Aquatic AV AQ-MP-5BT-H is a high-quality waterproof marine-grade stereo system designed specifically for motorcycles. It features a 3-inch full-color TFT display that is easy to read, even in bright sunlight.
The stereo has Bluetooth connectivity that allows wireless streaming from a smartphone or tablet, as well as a USB port and an AUX input for wired connectivity options.
In addition to standard features, the AQ-MP-5BT-H also includes a built-in 288W amplifier and a built-in AM/FM radio tuner with RDS (Radio Data System) to display song and artist information.
It is also equipped with a 7-band graphic equalizer that allows you to adjust the sound output to your liking. The stereo system is IP55 rated, which means it is resistant to water, dust, and dirt, making it ideal for use in tough outdoor conditions.
The AQ-MP-5BT-H comes with a detachable faceplate for added security and a wireless remote control for easy operation while riding. The stereo system’s compact size and low power consumption make it an ideal choice for motorcycles, ATVs, and other outdoor vehicles.
Picking The Right Stereo
Here’s a short guide on how to pick a new stereo for your motorcycle:
- Consider your budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on a new motorcycle stereo system.
- Determine your needs: Consider the features you want in a stereo system, such as Bluetooth connectivity, USB inputs, FM/AM radio, etc.
- Check for compatibility: Make sure the stereo system you choose is compatible with your motorcycle’s make and model.
- Consider the power output: Choose a stereo system that has enough power output to match your motorcycle’s speakers.
- Check the size and weight: Consider the size and weight of the stereo system to ensure it will fit properly on your motorcycle.
- Check for waterproofing: If you plan on riding in wet conditions, consider choosing a stereo system that is waterproof.
- Read reviews: Read reviews of the stereo system you’re considering to get an idea of its performance and reliability.
Upgrade your cables
Upgrading your cables is another way to improve the sound quality of your motorcycle’s audio system. The quality of your audio cables can significantly impact the overall sound quality of your system, especially in a motorcycle environment where there is a lot of vibration, noise, and electromagnetic interference.
Low-quality cables can introduce noise and interference into your audio signal, resulting in a distorted or unclear sound. Upgrading your cables to higher-quality cables can help reduce interference and ensure a clean, clear audio signal.
When choosing audio cables for your motorcycle’s audio system, look for cables that are specifically designed for use in a motorcycle environment. These cables should be durable and resistant to vibration, temperature changes, and electromagnetic interference.
You should also look for cables with high-quality connectors, such as gold-plated connectors, which can help ensure a reliable and secure connection between your audio components. In addition, you may want to consider using shielded cables, which are designed to reduce interference from other electrical components in your motorcycle.
Overall, upgrading your cables can be a simple and effective way to improve the sound quality of your motorcycle’s audio system. By investing in high-quality cables, you can help ensure that your audio signal is clear and free from interference, allowing you to fully enjoy your music while on the road.
Position your speakers carefully
Positioning your speakers carefully is another way to improve the sound quality of your motorcycle’s audio system. The position and direction of your speakers can have a significant impact on the sound quality, clarity, and volume of your music.
When positioning your speakers, you should consider the location of your ears and aim the speakers toward them. This can help ensure that the sound waves reach your ears directly, rather than bouncing off other surfaces in your environment.
You should also consider the placement of your speakers on your motorcycle. Depending on your motorcycle model, there may be limited space for speaker placement, but you should try to position them in a way that maximizes their sound output and minimizes interference from other components on your motorcycle.
In addition, you may want to consider using speaker mounts or brackets to help direct the sound toward your ears. These mounts can be especially helpful if your speakers are mounted in a location where they are not naturally aimed toward your ears.
Overall, carefully positioning your speakers can help improve the sound quality of your motorcycle’s audio system, making your music more enjoyable and immersive while you ride. By taking the time to position your speakers properly, you can help ensure that you’re getting the best possible sound quality from your system.
Consider a subwoofer
Adding a subwoofer to your motorcycle’s audio system is another way to improve the sound quality, especially for music genres that rely heavily on bass, such as rock, hip-hop, and electronic music.
A subwoofer is a specialized speaker designed to reproduce low-frequency sounds, such as bass and drums. By adding a subwoofer to your audio system, you can improve the overall balance and clarity of your music, especially at higher volumes.
When selecting a subwoofer for your motorcycle’s audio system, you should consider the size and power of the subwoofer, as well as its compatibility with your audio components. Subwoofers come in a range of sizes and power ratings, so you should choose one that is appropriate for your motorcycle and audio system.
You should also consider the installation process and location of the subwoofer. Depending on your motorcycle model, there may be limited space for subwoofer installation, so you may need to choose a compact subwoofer that can fit in a smaller space. You should also ensure that the subwoofer is securely mounted to your motorcycle to prevent it from moving or vibrating while you ride.
The Rockford Fosgate HD14-SBSUB
The Rockford Fosgate HD14-SBSUB is a dual 10″ saddlebag subwoofer and amplifier kit designed specifically for select 2014+ Harley Davidson motorcycles. The kit includes a pair of rugged, weather-resistant saddlebag enclosures that house the subwoofers and amplifiers, as well as all necessary mounting hardware and wiring.
The subwoofers are 10″ Punch P2 models, with a power handling rating of 800 watts. They are constructed with Kevlar fiber-reinforced paper cones and VAST surround technology for high-quality sound and durability. The kit also includes two 300-watt amplifiers with built-in crossovers, delivering plenty of power to drive the subwoofers to their fullest potential.
The entire kit is designed to be plug-and-play, with easy installation and no modifications required to your motorcycle’s electrical system. It also features a quick-disconnect harness for easy removal of the saddlebag enclosures.
Picking The Right Subwoofer
Choosing the right subwoofer for your motorcycle can significantly enhance your music-listening experience. Here are some tips to help you pick the right subwoofer for your motorcycle:
- Size: Measure the space available on your motorcycle to ensure that the subwoofer you choose fits properly.
- Power Handling: Look for a subwoofer with a power handling rating that matches the output of your amplifier.
- Sensitivity: Choose a subwoofer with a high sensitivity rating, as this will allow it to produce more sound with less power.
- Impedance: Make sure the subwoofer’s impedance is compatible with your amplifier, as mismatched impedances can cause damage to your equipment.
- Frequency Response: Look for a subwoofer with a low-frequency response that can handle the bass frequencies you want to hear.
- Enclosure: Decide if you want a subwoofer with an enclosed box or if you want to build your own custom enclosure.
By considering these factors, you can choose a subwoofer that not only fits your motorcycle but also delivers the sound quality you desire.
Overall, adding a subwoofer to your motorcycle’s audio system can significantly enhance the sound quality and listening experience, especially for music genres that rely heavily on bass. By carefully selecting and installing a high-quality subwoofer, you can enjoy a more immersive and satisfying audio experience while riding your motorcycle.
Use an equalizer
An equalizer is a device or software that allows you to adjust the balance and frequency response of your music, allowing you to tailor the sound to your preferences and environment.
When using an equalizer, you can adjust the levels of different frequency ranges, such as bass, midrange, and treble. By adjusting these levels, you can enhance certain aspects of your music, such as making the bass more prominent or bringing out the vocals.
To use an equalizer effectively, you should first familiarize yourself with the different frequency ranges and their effects on music. You can then experiment with different equalizer settings to find the optimal balance for your music and environment.
Many modern motorcycles come with built-in equalizers that allow you to adjust the sound settings directly from your motorcycle’s audio system. If your motorcycle does not have a built-in equalizer, you can also use a portable equalizer device that connects to your audio system or use equalizer software on your phone or other devices.
Use Your Stereos EQ setting – Get more out of your current settings
Here are some tips on how to use the equalizer setting on your radio for better sound:
- Adjust to your environment: The equalizer settings should be adjusted to suit your environment. If you are in a quiet room, you may want to increase the bass, while in a noisy car, you may need to increase the treble.
- Start with a flat EQ: Start by setting your EQ to a flat position, with all the frequency bands set to zero or neutral. This will provide a good baseline for you to work with.
- Make small adjustments: When making adjustments, start with small changes to individual frequency bands. Increase or decrease the levels by one or two decibels until you achieve the desired effect.
- Adjust for your music: Different genres of music have different frequency ranges. Adjust the EQ settings to suit the music you are listening to. For example, rock music typically has more bass and treble, while classical music may require more mid-range.
- Experiment: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different EQ settings until you find the right sound for your music and environment.
Overall, using an equalizer can help optimize the sound quality of your motorcycle’s audio system, making your music sound more balanced, clear, and enjoyable while you ride. By taking the time to learn how to use an equalizer effectively, you can customize your music listening experience to suit your preferences and environment.
Optimize your music files
The quality of your music files can greatly impact the sound quality, and by ensuring that your music files are high-quality and properly formatted, you can enhance the overall listening experience.
Firstly, it is important to ensure that your music files are in a high-quality format, such as FLAC or WAV. These formats provide higher-quality sound compared to compressed formats like MP3, which can lead to a loss of audio information and a lower-quality listening experience. However, high-quality formats also take up more storage space on your device.
Another factor to consider is the bit rate of your music files, which refers to the number of bits of data used to represent each second of audio. Higher bit rates generally result in higher sound quality, but they also increase the file size. For example, a 320 kbps MP3 file will generally provide better sound quality than a 128 kbps file, but the file size will be larger.
|MP3||This is one of the most commonly used audio formats. It is a compressed format that reduces the file size while still maintaining good sound quality. MP3s are ideal for streaming and downloading music.|
|WAV||This is an uncompressed audio format that provides high-quality sound, but the file sizes are larger than other formats. WAV files are often used by professional musicians and recording studios.|
|FLAC||This is a lossless compression format that provides high-quality sound but with smaller file sizes than WAV. FLAC is often used for audiophile-grade music and is compatible with most media players.|
|AAC||This is a compressed format that was developed by Apple. It provides good sound quality and is commonly used for music downloads from iTunes.|
|OGG||This is a compressed format that is similar to MP3 but provides better sound quality. OGG files are often used for streaming music.|
|AIFF||This is an uncompressed format that was developed by Apple. It provides high-quality sound but with large file sizes. AIFF is often used by professional musicians and recording studios.|
|Our Recommendation is FLAC||Using lossless compression to maintain proper audio quality!|
In addition to the file format and bit rate, you should also ensure that your music files are properly tagged and organized. This will help you easily find and play your music, and also ensure that your motorcycle’s audio system can properly read and play your music files.
By optimizing your music files, you can greatly enhance the sound quality of your motorcycle’s audio system, allowing you to enjoy your music to the fullest while riding.
Install a noise filter
Installing a noise filter is an effective way to reduce electrical interference that can negatively affect the sound quality of your motorcycle’s audio system. Electrical interference can be caused by various factors, such as the alternator, spark plugs, and other electrical components on your motorcycle.
When electrical interference is present, you may hear noise, hum, or static in your music, which can be distracting and annoying. By installing a noise filter, you can effectively reduce or eliminate this unwanted noise, resulting in a cleaner and clearer sound.
A noise filter works by blocking unwanted electrical signals and noise while allowing the audio signal to pass through. There are different types of noise filters available, including in-line filters that are installed between the audio source and the amplifier, and power filters that are installed on the power line.
In-line Noise filters are Electronic devices That are installed between the audio source and amplifier in a motorcycle’s audio system. They work to block unwanted electrical signals and noise while allowing the audio signal to pass through, resulting in a cleaner and clearer sound.
In-line noise filters are designed to reduce or eliminate unwanted noise, hum or static in your music, resulting in an improved listening experience while riding your motorcycle.
Power noise filters are electronic devices that are installed on the power line of a motorcycle’s audio system. They work to block unwanted electrical signals and noise while allowing the audio signal to pass through, resulting in a cleaner and clearer sound.
Power noise filters are designed to reduce or eliminate unwanted noise, hum or static in your music, resulting in an improved listening experience while riding your motorcycle. Unlike in-line noise filters, power noise filters are installed on the power line, so they can be used with any audio source or amplifier.
When choosing a noise filter, it is important to ensure that it is compatible with your motorcycle’s electrical system and audio components. Some noise filters may not work well with certain types of amplifiers or speakers, so it is important to choose a filter that is designed for your specific setup.
Overall, installing a noise filter can greatly improve the sound quality of your motorcycle’s audio system by reducing unwanted electrical interference. By reducing noise and improving the clarity of your music, you can enjoy a more pleasant and enjoyable listening experience while riding.
There are several ways to improve the sound quality of your motorcycle’s audio system.
We believe that the most important and most noticeable improvements depend on the setup that you currently have. For example, if you already have aftermarket speakers the biggest jump you could make in quality is to install an amplifier. It’s important to know what you are missing currently because that’s what will generally make a difference.
By following these tips and methods, you can greatly enhance the sound quality of your motorcycle’s audio system and enjoy a more enjoyable and immersive listening experience while riding.